If there was any real truth behind rumours or rivalry between X Factor judges Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue, it looks like things are about to get even worse. Producers of the ITV1 show, which returns to our screens in August, have really given the two judges something to fight about.
Everybody was wondering why Dannii Minogue took months to decide whether to return for another series, and its looking like she was trying to hold out for a pay deal which matched Cheryl Cole’s, but in the end, it wasn’t to be, and she was offered only £450,000. ONLY £450,000 i hear you say? Well compare that to Cheryl Cole’s salary of £1.2 million, and Cheryl has been at the show for 2 years less than Dannii.
Cheryl’s new pay deal – up from £800,000 last year, is a reward for the key role she played in the last series, when she was mentor to winner Alexandra Burke, and helped viewing figures soar through the roof.
A source at The X Factor has said: “Cheryl Cole is the nations darling. We may be living in the toughest economic times in decades, but when someone helps a show pull nearly 15 million viewers, as we saw on last years X Factor final, than you have to pay to keep them on board.“
“Cheryl made last year’s series. She gave us glamour and helped bring in the young viewers that we desperately need to woo advertisers. She’s worth every penny.”
The pay rise means Cheryl — wife of Chelsea and England footballer Ashley Cole — will earn almost three times as much as rival judge Dannii Minogue. Dannii, 37, is likely to be fuming at the news.
She is the lowest-paid X Factor judge, on £450,000 for the series. Cheryl’s pay rise is proof that she really does have the X Factor, coming just a year after she replaced Sharon Osbourne. ITV has been hit hard by the recession, and a financial crisis has forced bosses to axe 1,500 staff. But X Factor is seen as the channel’s flagship show and its budget has been given a £6million boost.
The other big winner is host Dermot O’Leary, who rakes in more than £1million. Louis Walsh gets £600,000 while Holly Willoughby is on £150,000 for presenting Xtra Factor on ITV2.
Simon Cowell’s pay is dealt with separately, as he is on an exclusive deal with ITV worth £20million over three years. The X Factor budget was thrashed out after weeks of tense negotiations between ITV and TalkbackThames, which co-produces the show with Cowell’s production company Syco.
And Cowell BLOCKED an attempt to cut Dermot O’Leary’s pay, the source revealed. O’Leary was lured to the show in 2007 after ITV axed host Kate Thornton, and the source said: “Everything was very rushed and we had to give Dermot a massive deal to get him on the show. It also included an ‘escalator’ which promised a pay rise every year. ITV did want to cut Dermot’s pay this year, but Simon Cowell said, ‘No way’.”
The source added: “Things have been strained because everybody is under pressure to produce the best show they can for as little cash as possible. Advertisers are leaving ITV in droves, and it’s advertisers who help ITV raise the funds to make their shows. At one point, it seemed auditions could even be stopped. But it’s sorted now and we’re sure there’s going to be another stonking series.”
The judges were in Glasgow this week for the first round of auditions before X Factor returns to TV screens in August for its sixth series.